Greens celebrate first federal seat in New Brunswick

Fredericton voters made history Monday night, electing the province’s first ever Green member of Parliament and giving the Greens their first seat east of British Columbia.

“I’m just so proud,” Jenica Atwin said after her victory in the previously Liberal riding was declared late in the night.

“Our hard work is paying off.”

Hundreds of Green supporters whooped and hollered for Atwin at a small brewery on Fredericton’s north side as the results came in.

“They are going to hear me, they are going to hear us, and we are going to make the world a better place,” she told them.

Atwin led much of the night, with about 33 per cent of the vote, but Conservative Andrea Johnson wasn’t far behind, with about 30 per cent.

Liberal Matt DeCourcey, who has held the seat for the past four years, was third, with about 27 per cent of the vote, and the NDP trailed with about six per cent.

Atwin called the results “a historic win as a Green and as a woman,” and said she’s ready to get started in her new role as MP.

“Canada is looking at Fredericton. They’re looking at New Brunswick. So we’re just so excited about this result.”

During the campaign, a lot of eyes were on the Fredericton riding, which has chosen a Liberal or Conservative in recent elections. Green Party Leader Elizabeth May spent time in the riding in the closing days of the campaign, as did Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer.

The party had its first breakthrough in the Maritimes in 2014, when the New Brunswick Green Party leader, David Coon, won a seat in the legislature. In last year’s provincial election, the Green caucus expanded to three seats.

“[The voters] really needed to see what a Green could do before they would trust their vote in this way,” she said.

Throughout the federal campaign, Atwin, who works in Indigenous education, focused on climate change, mental illness, poverty and a need for reconciliation with First Nations.

She said her team did everything it could to communicate with voters and spread the message.

“It’s nice to see that dot of green,” she said.

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